Scattered Chapters: New and Selected Poems

Baron Wormser, Author . Sarabande $16.95 (247p) ISBN 978-1-932511-61-1

This first career retrospective from Wormser (Carthage ) should make his unpretentious, undaunted and unpredictable work better known. Recently poet laureate of Maine and known for his rural life, Wormser has always been drawn to plain speech, to the unpretentious, honest virtues he finds in blue-collar New England ways. Yet he also sustains an interest in quirky words, in awkwardly capacious long lines and in the more elaborate storytelling of his own Yiddish-speaking forebears. The combination made for sad, confident poems beginning in the 1980s, most confident when they involved characters—“The Suicide's Father,” for example, begins: “Everything has become a museum./ Where I live is where I lived.” Wormser's 2000 breakthrough, Mulroney and Others , consisted largely of vivid poems about, or spoken by, other people—the high school teacher who wishes he couldn't predict his students lives, the hippie kid who joined the army in frustration. The new poems here also display these same strengths. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/19/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
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